By Kate Northrop
A week after Ohio announced their "Vax-a-Million" lottery, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that his administration is considering a similar idea to motivate residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Wednesday at a City Hall press briefing, de Blasio responded to a reporter who inquired about New York holding a separate lottery to incentivize unvaccinated residents to get a dose.
"We are talking about whether that kind of approach would add something," de Blasio answered. "Every day, we're seeing continued progress on vaccination. I think the number one reason that's happening is because we've made it ever-more convenient — more local, walk-in, mobile vaccination centers — I think all of this is just making it real easy for people."
The New York City Mayor's Office has already offered various incentives for people who received their vaccination, such as a free two-week Citi Bike membership, free fries at Shake Shack, and a free weekly MetroCard.
While a lottery for a cash prize is currently just a rumor, de Blasio has already announced a lottery-type incentive for basketball fans — a chance to win free tickets to a home Brooklyn Nets game by getting vaccinated at the Barclay's Center vaccination site.
"Now, here's the deal," de Blasio explained while sporting a jersey. "Go there, get vaccinated, enter a lottery for playoff tickets... The Nets are gonna be in the playoffs for a long time all the way until the end, so you're going to have multiple chances to win playoff tickets when you get vaccinated at that site."
While the current incentives offered by the administration might be appealing to some people, de Blasio said that his office is going to continue looking for more ways to interest the public.
"I talk to people all the time who say, 'Oh yeah, I'm just finally getting around to it,' [or] 'Oh yeah, there's someplace now near me I'm gonna go,'" he said. "I think the incentives are also helping and generating a lot of interest and focus."
New Yorkers looking for a money incentive will have to wait and see what the de Blasio administration decides.
"We're looking at models around the country, and a lottery-type idea is real interesting," de Blasio concluded. "We'll be assessing that, and we'll have more to say on that soon."